A sharp gasp of air caught their attention and Dash spun in place ready for battle, lost as he was in bloodlust and madness, scratching at his arm with a humongous grin plastered on his jagged-toothed maw. Frank turned his head slowly, looking at Dawn for a moment with a single eye before it rolled up into the back of his head, a second pupil showing up from the bottom. For a moment Frank had his face towards the sky, flickering his tongue with an inhuman speed, confusing the young Daywatch as she backed up slowly until she realized in a flash of insight what was happening.
Despite his monstrous nature, his ability to survive and thrive amongst monstrosities too horrible for description, he was still a human with a human's body...and this man had just devoured the entire lifetime of another man, alongside the Demon he had bonded himself with. That life, the basic energy of living, was beginning to spill out of Frank and this strange tableau was the outcome of such a thing.
He didn't just devour Jerome, he had devoured the very foundation of his existence! Already her memory of Jerome Valken was becoming fuzzy, and she wondered silently if she would survive this encounter...and if so, to check her journals to see if they, too, were affected by this phenomenon.
Leaving behind strange after-images of himself, Frank strode towards Dawn, ignoring Dash as the troll suddenly focused on the flesh of his arm, scratching at himself harder. Frank shook his head, then grinned at Dawn as the tall troll-gene came up behind him, still scratching.
"It's alright, Daywatch. Go report to the Grand Magus it's done. I'm going on a month-long vacation, but it's done, to the very last point...as you've witnessed."
Having learned wariness at an early age, Dawn kept her eyes on both Shopkeepers, watching Dash as he walked closer to the both of them as she asked, "I don't understand it. All this fighting and...strangeness...and sir Dash hasn't undergone any of his fabled Maximum Troll? No berserker rage beyond this action and violence dependency?"
Frank chuckled, shaking his head, "Nope. We seem to have gotten away with this without havin' to have THAT happen! Besides, if he WAS going to go Maximum Troll, he always says somethin' stupid and nonsensical first. Then he starts tearing bits of himself off and...well, things get messy and violent and bad, y'know?"
"Hey, what's all this skin doin' on my arm?" Dash frowned at his forearm as he tore off a sizable patch of scaled, green flesh away from his bleeding muscle. Frank responded the moment he heard Dash ask the nonsensical question by diving forward and tackling the young Daywatch out of the way, narrowly dodging the patch of skin as it sprouted an eye from the center of it's mass, claws sprang forth from it's raggedly-torn edge, and spun through the air at high velocity, intent on buzz-sawing it's way through either of them only to find empty air.
Dash roared, the scales on his face forming a armored mask and tearing apart all within the blink of an eye, his eyes completely laserlight red.
He had lost his humanity, his sentience, and his sanity to the Maximum Troll, a berserker fury that drove all troll-gened humanoids, or so the legends said.
The patch of skin landed on the ground and immediately skittered towards the couple on the ground. Frank, yelling, lashed out with a foot and sent a wave of ki energy at the skin patch, sending it flying backwards between the troll's legs, getting himself and Dawn up to their feet as Dash slowly stomped towards them, his jaw unhinging and tearing the armored mask on his face apart once again to roar at them.
With an almost casual grace, Dash tore his left hand off and flung it forward, the bloodless stump immediately producing an eyeball on a stalk as the hand skittered delicately on it's claws towards them, the clawed skin patch catching itself and joining the allies Dash had begun to produce. Immediately regenerating his left hand, he tore his right hand off at the wrist as well, roaring as that hand immediately formed a fist, connect to his wrist by a streamer of blood that hovered in mid-air of it's own accord, immediately regenerating his right fist as well.
The blood of the troll, spilled on the ground earlier and still within the water, began to roll towards his body as he made his slow way towards them, his maw extending further as his body began to undergo further internal transformations.
Daywatch Tanelin and Frank backed up, Frank keeping his own body between the monsters and the Magus behind him. He grinned and relaxed suddenly, much to Dawn's confusion.
"M-Magus Todd?! What in the blue blazes are you DOING?" She looked from the man to the monster and back again, "What CAN we do?"
Frank chuckled suddenly, cracking his knuckles, leaving behind a trail of after-images, "I'm gonna kick his ass. Bonus round."
Dawn blinked, biting the tip of her tongue in her haste to yell, "WHAT?! OWowowowowowowow-owie!"
Then it happened - the clash of after-images and furious troll, the two Shopkeepers roaring in their fury.
A slash of the claw was met with a strike to the wrist, then the human's own clawed fingers tearing at his chest. Dash closed his eyes and literally shook the pain off, ignoring Frank for a second as the human slammed a boot-heel upon the patch of skin, squashing it to the ground. Though it would regenerate, it would take more than a few moments to do that, and in the meantime he had turned his attention back to Dash with a series of rapid-fire jabs to his eyes.
Dash roared and slammed his fist in an overhead strike, feeling it connect solidly. Chuckling wickedly he opened up his mammoth-sized hand only to find nothing, then roared in pain as Frank's rapid-fire jabs, the Overdrive safely at level 1 but his own strength and speed sped up after feeding on Jerome's soul, caught him in the side of the face. Sweeping his claws again, he didn't even have enough time to register the miss as Frank's fists once again pummeled against the left side of his face this time.
Dawn yelped, a magic circle erupting around her as she considered her considerable store of spells, keeping an eye on the hand as it tip-toed on it's claws, clacking it's way amongst the chairs and tables by the side of the pool. Concentrating, a magic circle erupted around her as she prepared her spell, murmuring under her breath the words necessary for it.
Hearing Dash and Frank's exertions, she charged the spell and watched the hand as it drew closer, finally making it's play by leaping directly onto a plastic-strapped chair, bouncing onto a table's edge and leaping for her face.
"Talaver'n!" her voice rang with power as she activated the spell, waving a hand in front of her and releasing a cold spray of snow from her palm.
The hand froze up solid as it passed through the icy sheet, narrowly hitting the Daywatch as she stepped to the side and let it bounce along the ground.
Nodding pointedly, a mental salute to the fearsome thing, she turned and immediately backed up as Dash rammed Frank towards her, the smaller man gripped with both hands. Roaring and kicking at empty air, Frank shook violently within the troll's grasp as they both sent tables and chairs flying. Dash leapt high into the air, his hands held overhead for a moment before he opened his palms and slammed them down to the ground, intent on smashing Frank once and for all only to roar in confusion and pain.
Unable to utilize the Overdrive due to his use of his life-sucking quirk of nature, and unable to use THAT ability at this time, Frank did the last thing he could think to do and simply jackknife his way between Dash's palms, allowing the scaled ridges of his hand to tear his clothes and bits of his anatomy up but in the process was able to escape the kill attempt, once again tearing off at high-speed to deliver more blows to Dash's chest and back.
Moving quickly, Frank narrowly avoided Dash's new attack as his back sprouted a mouth full of jagged teeth, stretching the length of his back in an attempt to devour Frank again. Groaning, Frank staggered, realizing he was quickly coming up to his utmost limit.
Dawn, her senses picking up on Frank's dwindling strength, immediately ran to him and helped him up as the troll rolled around on the ground, his body beginning to sprout an extra limb in his confusion, "Frank...what are we going to do?"
Suddenly a light bulb went off overhead and Frank turned towards the lobby, pointing at Dawn, "You distract him, I'm gonna hit him!"
"Wh-WHAT?!" Dawn, suddenly realizing how in trouble she was, turned as Dash's laserlight-reddened eyes turned towards her. Roaring, he stalked his body back around on hands and feet, his knees having turned inward during the last transformation. Snapping at the air madly, he shook his head violently before leaning down and eating a mouthful of dirt. The patch of skin shook itself and began to skitter towards her, only to find itself devoured by Dash. Dawn made a face as Dash gulped, looked at her then roared wordlessly, stomping the ground as he made his way towards her.
A magic circle erupted around Dawn as she pointed, transmuting a thin layer of grease from the grass directly in front of Dash. Dash's hands and feet slipped out from underneath him and he belly-flopped onto the greasy surface, keening with a high wail as he floundered.
Not one to let an opportunity go to waste, Dawn once again cast a magic circle as she chanted, gathering up the necessary energies to cast a new spell. Getting to his feet, Dash snarled through clenched teeth as he beheld the Daywatch stomp on the ground towards her right, holding out her right hand and with a flash of light and twisting of reality a armored version of herself "slid" into reality, standing at her right side.
"Mirror, Mirror," she smiled as the armored version of herself stood in front of her, crossing it's arms as she continued, "You should stay where you are, sir. Frank wi-OH!"
She gasped as the troll's claws suddenly erupted from underneath the armored figure, piercing it all the way through. Blinking, Dawn finally realized what the troll had done, digging it's clawed nails beneath the grease not for purchase but to lengthen and grow them, reaching out to pierce her Armored Guardian.
Staggering backwards, she began to calmly think on another spell as the troll's claws retracted and it took stock of itself before calmly stepping out of the grease. Grinning in an evil caricature of himself, the troll began to gallop towards her, his arms and legs producing a second set of knees as his maw stretched forward in his impatience to devour her.
She cast a mage bolt instantly, wanting to distract him with a quick strike while she charged a new attack spell, only to feel her usual confidence finally fall as a ki shield erupted red and angrily around the troll, the sphere of damaging magic sliding off of it harmlessly to explode against a overturned table. Dash roared and leapt, taking to the air in a massive pounce, his claws extended..
Preparing her final spell, unwilling to run and wanting to go down fighting, Dawn screamed her death knell and took a step forward, one hand surrounded by a globe of pure darkness, the other of a freezing mist, as she hurled both fists forward.
So it was that her eyes widened as much as they ever do as the spells were displaced and blocked completely, Dash's body bent into a U as it caved in around the Whammy Bar of The Roadbuster as the car, at top speed, slammed through the doors leading to the lobby and directly into Dash in a single bound.
In that single, glorious moment of bright pain and madness, Dash's sentience once again sparked to life and as he hung, broken, from the hood of his beloved The Roadbuster (you have to say the whole thing, after all), her gloriously customized wheel about to catch on his rib, drag him down to the ground and spread his shoulders and head into troll paste, a single thought flit through Dash's head as he noted the characteristic glee on Frank's face.
Damn. I could've been reading a book right now. But no. I had to be a violence junkie.
And he's playing that song again.
he ain't my boy but the brother is heavy
gave away my possessions and moved into a Chevy
van, yeah thats the master plan
drive into the woods and eat corn out the can
"Gone Guru" by Lifeseeker bumped and thumped out of The Roadbuster's incredible sound system, reverberating through what was left of Dash's head as he felt the awe-inspiring power of the car rev through her wheels, tearing his body under her as she slammed to the ground (dammit, Frank had jumped her out of the lobby!), her driver's side front wheel grinding his head to a gooey troll paste.
Just as equally in slow motion Dawn yeeped and doubled over slightly, her hands covering her crotch reflexively as she realized her white cotton panties had become thoroughly, unexplainably smashed, bits of the cotton falling to the ground.
Landing and laughing, Frank performed a 360 spin, scattering what was left of the tables and chairs before unloading a massive .357 Smith and Wesson magnum towards the flopping body of the troll-gened humanoid. Benediction, the artifact revolver he never left home without, the metal made from the silver crucifix used to impale and destroy Dracula himself, thrice-blessed and cooled with holy water. Etched along the barrel of the gun, the inscription "Blessed are they who knoweth love" turned a burnished, amber color as the Artifact revolver roared bloody murder, firing an especially hand-crafted bullet made by Dash himself: silver casings, blessed stained glass, oil, rosemary, thyme, silver shavings, and garlic - there was few that it couldn't outright kill, banish, or exorcise, and whatever it couldn't they instead were certain to feel the blasts.
Much like the troll's body, jerking and flopping in both nerve death and rebirth, as Frank unloaded all six chambers of the gun into his body. Laughing gleefully, letting the wheels tear the grass apart, Frank allowed the troll to regenerate and rise up just enough so he'd feel it as he let The Roadbuster slam into Dash, spinning and tearing up the carpet in the empty lobby as the troll wobbled to his knees, waving a large hand.
"I...ugh, I think I'm go-RORGH!"
He flipped head over heels as Frank hit him a third time, cackling.
The first thing Dash realized was that he hurt all over. Secondly, he was alive. Third, his head was being cradled on a pair of slim, well-formed thighs, a soft hand gently stroking at his cheek. Opening his green eyes, the troll grinned toothily before rumbling, "I'm glad I died. It's not everyday I get to meet an angel."
Daywatch Dawn smiled beautifully and continued to stroke the troll's temple, "Frank told me this would work. He also told me about your part in all of this, and what you had to go through. Besides, your girlfriends are on their way now with your van, apparently to congratulate you?"
About to get up, Dash thought the better of it and instead groaned, his back still healing - his legs were going to be paralyzed for a bit more time, "Oof. Well, I DID do a great job of it. Anyway, the perks outweigh the risks. Y'know: decapitation, disemboweling, paralysis, having my bone broken."
"Bone?" she blinked as Frank hunkered down next to her, slapping her hand away and immediately administering a rough, but thorough, physical. Checking his vital signs and jotting them down in a leather-bound, small journal he kept in his pocket, Dash grunted and suffered through the clinical check-up, by now thoroughly patient with Frank's processes.
Eventually satisfied, Frank slapped him on the chest and said, "G'wan and git up, idjit. Yer legs work again, and I'm satisfied you're you. I called Rosette and Juliette to come pick us up, and Greasy's lost his fool mind and is driving over here with some of those kids of yours to drive the Die Nasty back while he recovers The Roadbuster. Heh. Anyway," he helped the troll to his feet, who resisted only a little, reluctant to leave his delectable pillow, "How do you feel?"
"Like you freakin' shot me with the Benediction again," Dash coughed as Frank dusted his back off, "Dude, did you shoot me again? Jesus Christ, all I remember is being hit with The Roadbuster-"
"Oh, he only shot you the first time he hit you, he didn't shoot you the other time he-OH!" Frank swatted at her, cutting off her remark.
Dash cast a baleful eye at Frank as he turned to face him, "You hit me what many times?"
Frank grunted, "You were insane. I did what I had to do. Hey, you're okay, aren't you? It's in my clinical, professional opinion that what I did was exactly what was needed at the time."
Dash chuckled, all good nature once again as he clasped his smaller friend on the shoulder, "Well, I guess all's well that end's well, yeah? Besides, I'll consider it the balancing factor for me gettin' new interns!"
"Bah, interns," Frank frowned, "That is the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard. The Shop having interns!"
Dash blinked, "But, Frankbro...it's free labor!"
Frank frowned, stroking at the stubble on his chin before a slow smile crept along his brown features. He began to chuckle, low and evilly, and the Daywatch suppressed a shudder at what kind of errands he was already thinking up for the young ex-assassins.
Dash looked around, realizing they were in one of the hotel rooms on the second floor - a luxury suite. While they were on a queen-sized bed, there was also a private bathroom and living room area, as well as a tiny kitchenette. A strange bit of memory flitted across Dash's ever-regenerating brain and he realized with a start he had been there before, though years ago, back when he was still human. Wondering at this, Dash gingerly made his way towards the bathroom to handle his own private business, leaving the two humans to the kitchenette segment of the living room.
Frank hummed happily as he found a coffeemaker and a fresh, unopened can of coffee grind. Radiating a calm happiness, he set about making a fresh pot, setting up three Styrofoam cups, fresh cream and sugar on the small bar. Ignoring the alcohol, he rummaged around the glass case for stirring sticks and other accouterments he deemed worthy for the post-battle coffee he was going to enjoy.
Sidling up next to him, her Daywatch outfit resplendent in the early morning light, Dawn watched him as he happily and quietly rummaged about, a part of her finally able to process all she had witnessed.
The man who had helped kill one of the greatest threats on the face of the planet, who snarled in the faces of demons and the dark denizens of other dimensions, was happily humming brightly as he watched the pot fill, a look of contentment and accomplishment set on his face.
She leaned back against the bar and kicked a booted foot, wondering at what to say. Dawn wasn't a woman given to unnecessary conversation outside of her scholastic ventures, ever and always curious and interested in knowledge, not just of magic but of everything. A true DeFerens, she didn't abide by the idea that Magi should be defined by their Magia, and studied anything that scratched her educational itch.
It was what enabled her to understand energies beyond the magical, and in acquiring lore and knowledge did she learn of the Demonsidhe, the illegal and infamous drug that had thrice since nearly crippled the Order and plunge the world into war.
"Yet it never seems to go away, huh?" Frank grunted, handing the surprised young woman a cup, "No, I didn't read your thoughts - that'd be against my ethics as a psionic. Naw, lady, yer tired and not thinking straight. Literally, your Magi training has come undone...you should get yer head back on before the Grand Magus shows up, y'know?"
She harrumphed and took the cup from him, sipping at it gently, surprised to find it exactly the way she liked it - black with two sugars and a hint of mint, "How did you-"
"Now THAT I did read your mind for," Frank chuckled wickedly, enduring the good-natured slap she gave his shoulder. For awhile the two, temporary Darkwatch and newly ascended Daywatch, shared a cuppa and simply enjoyed the morning, the sound of the taps turning on alerting them to the hot shower Dash was taken, followed shortly by a loud, baritone rendition of O Fortuna.
"You listen to that style of music?" Dawn's electric blue eyes flitted to Frank's own chocolate browns, finding herself unable to come up with anything better for conversation.
"...you're not used to this, huh?" Frank laughed gently, holding a hand up to forestall her immediate response, "I know you're green as Hell, but not to actual fightin'. I mean killin'. What we do, what we did...you've never seen anything like that, huh?"
With nothing better to say and woman enough to admit her own shortcomings, Dawn shrugged. Frank laughed and nodded, "Yeah, good answer. Yeah. This is the world of the Darkwatch, darlin'...and the Daywatch. We're the ones who get to play with madness, to dance in the dark. We're also the ones who get to play ambassador to all the wicked things, to ensure they know we're not just fucking around here on our little mudball of a planet.
At least, that's what we WERE for," Frank took a long sip of coffee before continuing, "Now, the Watch is there to ensure the other Magi don't get it into their heads that they can become Gods. The gloves came off during the Havoc, y'see...and the one thing no one wants to point out is the power spike the whole world got from it.
Those of us who survived have access to the ability to shape reality with our will, now. But there's so many wills...and thusly do people like us become involved. The Grand Magus' personal assassins. The bodyguards, protecting the rest of the world from our very own community. Fun, huh?"
Dawn thought on that, simply enjoying the camaraderie. She had survived an ordeal, and was now being counted as an equal, a confidante, of the Shopkeepers and it was not an honor she was going to waste.
"...who are Rosette and Juliette?" she smiled, a fleeting and beautiful thing, "Are they really his girlfriends, as you said earlier?"
Frank waved his coffee cup around, grinning, "Two monster-genes, a mermaid-girl and a Rakshasa-gened. A tiger-humanoid-girl-thing...got three sets of tits. Both of 'em are pretty in their own way, though Rosette hates the fuck out of me. It's not that they're lovers or anything, but I can already tell - he's gonna be a-courtin' 'em soon, and I KNOW they got eyes for him. As is, it's a normal thing amongst the monster-gened to take on multiple lovers and such, especially if they're from their previous human lifetime or are of a incompatible gene-type. While it's not like monster-genes can only sleep with their own type, but there are only limited crossbreeds...and most frown upon it, since a Chimera, a monster with multiple types, lacks the concentrated punch of a single-type monster-gene. Fun stuff, huh?
Anyway, they hate it when I call them his girlfriends, and he'll rail on me 'bout it but all three of 'em ain't stoppin' me," Frank chuckled, draining his cup and replacing it with another.
Dawn worried at her bottom lip, almost distracting Frank with the cuteness as she looked to the side and bounced her pert rump against the bar, "Well, that's certainly interesting. Y'know, there's something that's bothering me...the Shop is secure, right? How did they kidnap Dash in such a manner?"
Frank barked a harsh laugh, once again looking like his usual curmudgeonly self as he gave her a grin full of dark delight, "Yeah. Ohhhhh yeah. I ain't of a mind to tell you how, but I can tell you 'bout the aftermath~! The High Murder who jacked Dash didn't get far. The Grand Magus told me himself, before the Trial, that she got nabbed and shipped back, senseless, to the Shop. Suffice it to say she's under wraps, and I'll be seein' to her indelicate administrations m'self. Hell, Dash might wanna get in on the action too, after we rest up...and this time around, it's gonna take me a bit of healin' before I'm up for anymore serious action. The Overdrive, y'see...and I used a LOT of it this time around. Shit," he frowned into his coffee cup, his thoughts his own for a bit.
Dawn, feeling the need to give him a little space, stayed quiet and swirled her own coffee around, delighting in the taste of it on her tongue. Hearing him sigh happily, she looked over at him and asked, "I have one last question, Darkwatch Todd....no, Generalist Todd? No one went down and got you out of the cell for the Trial, and you somehow got around Jerome's last attempt at stalling you, what with teleporting you to a new cell and keeping you disoriented...how in the WORLD have you been doing that? Somehow escaping that trap, but getting out of the cell despite how we've swapped locking spells, mechanisms-"
Frank chuckled, "Wellll...funny thing that you mentioned it. There's all sortsa fun ways of gettin' out of a cell like that, but this time around? I used a way-old trick of mine, and I'm sure if you go and look you'll find a large humongosaur, fat-assed friend of mine sleeping his hairy self away on that leather couch I left there. I swapped places with the jerk as he was passing through Rancho again."
Dawn blinked, "Why in the world did you do THAT?!"
Frank frowned, thinking back on the wonderful dream he had, of Aphrodite, the goddess delighting in him, her mouth sweet and full and beautiful beyond compare.
Carrying the goddess in his arms towards her bed, the dream flowing seamlessly from in front of the Shop to her own private rooms within the Asture cult's compound, he lay her down upon a bed of solid foam, her red hair stark against the samite sheets.
His lips lingered on the crook of her elbow, the sides of her neck, his tongue thrashing and eliciting moans of pure ecstasy from her as they undressed each other, the details too real, to specific to be a dream. He chuckled, his warm breath teasing her bitten neck.
"What?" She whispered. Though she inspired love and was beloved, there were only a very few of whom she wanted their love to be natural. To hear the voice of the goddess was to be enraptured, and though Frank's will had proven time and again to be stronger than the ensorcellment, she still whispered or used telepathy out of respect.
He smiled at her, cupping one of her full breasts for a moment before tweaking at her nipple with his large fingers, drinking in the sound of her moan, "Nothin'. Just love you, 'Phro. Love all four of ya...but right now? Just love you."
He leaned in and kissed each eyelid closed, delighting in her very presence as she accepted him and loved him in return, as much as a goddess ever could a mortal, and then some. He leaned in and kissed her, deep and hard, hungry and passionate, their hands beginning to grab at one another, pulling each other close....
He sighed and stared at his coffee cup, thinking how he had pulled back and screamed as the goddess had turned into the incredibly dense, wide form, all bulky with muscle and fat, of Abbacus Keith, some of his fantastic facial hair still sticking to Frank's completely aghast face.
"Kiss me, lover boy!!!"
Frank awakened screaming and flailing, scaring the guards as he began to revv up every single Combat magic spell he knew at the same time.
"No reason. Just keepin' it balanced between friends, 's all. So long as balance is kept," he chuckled and saluted the new Daywatch with his coffee cup, "'s all that matters to me~!"
In Los Angeles, there are hundreds of hangars, clustering more the closer you get to one of the skyhooks piercing the stratosphere.
At any one of these hangars, both thoroughly legal and rather shady business deals, inbound and outbound shipping, and private planes can be found coming and going, all logged in and documented by the Department of Air Control, who claimed dominance over the entire world's airspace from skyscrapers to low orbit. This included the administration of the all-important skyhooks, the smaller skyports, and transballistic traveling systems and anti-gravity monorail system, having wrest them from the Guild of Train Workers a few years back.
At one particular hangar, quite close to the L.A. Skyport, the massive floating island settled down, invisible to radar and every method of scrying as it had endured it's harrowing midnight flight. The Reaper landed, her ground crew immediately seeing to the island's landing needs and coordinating with the ground units dressed in black, nondescript clothes - the hangar was one used solely for such clandestine meetings, officially a condemned building on the outside yet on the inside the latest equipment and gear was stashed, electronics used to cloak incoming vehicles and stealthily exchange information with the Department of Air Control's backup computer database.
A limousine pulled into the mile-wide mouth of the hangar as the captain of The Reaper identified himself to a mask-wearing goon, the two immediately sighting each other as a officer of their own groups. Exchanging information and introductions, the masked second-in-command (with the given name of "Aristotle") led the captain towards the limousine. Holding the door open, Aristotle stood to the side as the Captain looked on nervously. A brown-haired, pale-skinned Magi of the Valken House, Captain Bernard Valken had been groomed specifically for his ability to pilot The Reaper wherever the Patriarch had ordered single-handedly, able to utilize the Magia necessary in order to clone himself. It was his narrowness of focus that won him the coveted and prestigious position as the Patriarch's personal pilot, and even after death he would not fail his beloved lord. Tall and broad-shouldered, he had been taught for many hours how he was to appear to the person in the limousine, the financial backer of the House of Valken.
Bowing low, he waited until a pair of polished, black boots entered his vision to dare look up.
Wearing a double-breasted suit jacket and a black corsage, the young woman, her long platinum hair tied into a complicated braid and held in place with a pair of golden picks, was the utter study of beauty. Small of proportion, she was nevertheless stunning to the young Captain as she gazed about at her crew interacting with his. Nodding at the efficiency of the scene, she finally allowed her unsettling gaze to grace his. Her neck was swanlike, graceful, and every part of her cream-colored three piece-suit was tailored to her tantalizing form.
One eye violet, the other a storm-gray color, one he couldn't quite place.
She smiled, her lips begging his attention as she spoke with a crisp, clean voice, "You have done well, Magus. You have done very well. Now please destroy The Reaper and the Demonsidhe, both. The Valken House can expect payment in roughly one hour."
The Captain goggled at her, "Did you say....destroy? The Reaper? And...the Demonsidhe, ma'am?"
The woman lifted a pale, platinum-haired eyebrow and stabbed him in the broad chest with a simple rattan cane, "I did not stutter, young one. The purpose of this exercise has occurred just the way I planned it, and now we shall dispose of this...ignoble substance. It offends me," she frowned, managing to make even that seem like a study in feminine perfection, "The very idea of bonding oneself to one of those...miserable creatures. So inartistic, so...unaesthetic. Your Patriarch should have looked to the Shop for lessons on such matters, hmmm?"
The Captain bristled, "Madame-"
Morrow Kind sighed, tugging at the white gloves he wore over his slim, slender fingers, "Also, I'm not a woman. This may be our first time meeting one another, but certainly you can do better then assume?"
Bernard's eyebrows rose as he felt his entire world turn sideways, "Oh...uh...yes. Sorry...sir."
Morrow smiled beatifically, noting the effect he had on the young man. Turning back to the limousine he swayed slightly, his feminine features taking in with delight the destruction of The Reaper, and the nearly thousand demon souls locked within the drugs in the belly of the miniature island.
The Captain, his eyes never leaving Morrow, leapt to take Aristotle's place and close the door, kneeling down by the window as it rolled down. Aristotle chuckled, adjusting the lapels of his black button-up shirt before turning back to gaze upon the workings of the ground crew and flight crew, all Order-trained magi.
Morrow beamed, stroking at the delicate point of his knee, tilting his head slightly so his violet eye could see better.
"Hmmm...tell me, Captain. Do you think Frank would be pleased with me, right now?" His voice shivered for a moment, the air about his luscious mouth rippling with power, "Or...vexed?"
The Captain frowned, jealousy stamped plainly upon his face at the thought of a rival for Morrow's affections. Despite that, he answered honestly, unable to lie to his new master, "No, sir. I think he'd be whatever you want him to be."
Aristotle turned his face towards Bernard, chuckling behind the blank, eyeless mask before turning back to the various spells and projectiles hurtled towards The Reaper, watching with a barely-suppressed shiver how the massive island of metal exploded, imploded, and melted, torn apart by the living Circle created by their people. Morrow's people now, all of them.
Morrow hummed a tune to himself, eyes blinking slowly before watching the carnage, "Oh. Ohhhh. I simply can't wait!"
Tomorrow's going to be a good day, one way or another.
The Generalist – Taboo 3: Misfits and Mayhem (The Mayhem Arc)